Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Two Women
By Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806–1867)
THE SHADOWS lay along Broadway,
  ’Twas near the twilight-tide—
And slowly there a lady fair
  Was walking in her pride.
Alone walk’d she; but, viewlessly,        5
  Walk’d spirits at her side.
Peace charm’d the street beneath her feet,
  And Honour charm’d the air;
And all astir looked kind on her,
  And call’d her good as fair—        10
For all God ever gave to her,
  She kept with chary care.
She kept with care her beauties rare
  From lovers warm and true—
For her heart was cold to all but gold,        15
  And the rich came not to woo—
But honour’d well are charms to sell,
  If priests the selling do.
Now walking there was one more fair—
  A slight girl, lily-pale;        20
And she had unseen company
  To make the spirit quail—
’Twixt Want and Scorn she walk’d forlorn.
  And nothing could avail.
No mercy now can clear her brow        25
  For this world’s peace to pray;
For, as love’s wild prayer dissolved in air,
  Her woman’s heart gave way!—
But the sin forgiven by Christ in Heaven
  By man is cursed alway!        30

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